Invalid Unit Specified
G016 Quercus muehlenbergii - Fraxinus americana - Juniperus virginiana Forest & Woodland Group

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: This eastern U.S. group is made up of dry forests and woodlands that are more-or-less restricted to calcareous or circumneutral bedrock substrates, characterized by Quercus muehlenbergii and Juniperus virginiana.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Chinquapin Oak - White Ash - Eastern Red-cedar Forest & Woodland Group
Colloquial Name: Northeastern Chinquapin Oak - Red-cedar Alkaline Forest & Woodland
Hierarchy Level: Group
Type Concept: This group encompasses relatively dry calcareous forests and woodlands of temperate eastern North America, in which Quercus muehlenbergii is associated with a variety of hardwoods and/or Juniperus virginiana. Examples can occur on a variety of topographic and landscape positions, including ridgetops and upper and midslopes. It also includes relatively dry, rich woodlands of traprock habitats in the Northeast. Droughts and fires are factors determining the relative mixture of deciduous hardwood versus evergreen trees. In the Southern Ridge and Valley region, the Central Basin of Tennessee and other related areas, these forests may cover large areas; elsewhere, they occur as relatively small inclusions within a forest matrix of other oak and pine species.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Tree canopy dominated by Quercus muehlenbergii, or containing Quercus muehlenbergii with some combination of Acer saccharum, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Carya ovata, Fraxinus americana, or Juniperus virginiana; or open woodlands with Juniperus virginiana dominant and the above hardwoods as associates. Soils or parent material are calcareous or enriched and relatively dry.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features: Nominal species are the most restricted to calcareous substrates.
Classification Comments: This group has a fairly broad range but a restricted environmental setting. Tree species composition is not too variable, but shrub and herb composition is not well-described. Further review of overall composition is needed to solidify the concept. Old-field Juniperus virginiana woodlands are excluded and placed in Eastern North American Native Ruderal Forest Group (G030). This type is not in Maritime Canada (S. Basquill pers. comm. 2015).
Similar NVC Types:
G179 Central Interior Alkaline Open Glade & Barrens, note: contains some similar associations but is characterized by very open canopies and well-developed graminoid cover in the herb layer.
G601 Chinquapin Oak - Shumard Oak - Blue Ash Alkaline Forest & Woodland, note: is typically found in the unglaciated Midwest and south-central regions of the eastern United States; southern tree associates, such as Quercus shumardii, Ulmus alata, Cotinus obovatus, Juniperus ashei, and other hardwoods are distinctive.
G655 Laurentian-Acadian Limestone Woodland, note: is characterized by Quercus muehlenbergii and Juniperus virginiana, but in association with northern conifers Thuja occidentalis and Pinus banksiana.
Physiognomy and Structure: This group encompasses a range of physiognomies from closed-canopy forest to open woodland. Two major subgroupings of thin-soiled woodlands versus closed-canopy forests on somewhat deeper soils can be recognized.
Floristics: Canopy dominants found more-or-less throughout the range include Quercus muehlenbergii, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovalis, Acer saccharum, Juniperus virginiana, and Fraxinus americana. Quercus alba is a common associate. Subcanopy trees and shrubs characteristic in parts of the group's range include Ostrya virginiana, Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum rafinesquianum, Cercis canadensis, and Staphylea trifolia. The herbaceous layer is generally species-rich and with indicators of high base status, including Carex eburnea, Hepatica nobilis, Packera obovata, Carex platyphylla, Asclepias quadrifolia, Actaea pachypoda, Dichanthelium boscii, Elymus hystrix, Aquilegia canadensis, and Adiantum pedatum. Traprock habitats of the Northeast support many fewer nutrient-demanding species, but are characterized by circumneutral species of dry habitats such as Corydalis sempervirens, Krigia virginica, and Asclepias verticillata.
Dynamics: Droughts and fires are factors determining the relative mixture of deciduous hardwood versus evergreen trees.
Environmental Description: Climate: This group is found in the temperate portions of the eastern United States. It tends to occur on portions of the landscape with warmer exposures. Soil/substrate/hydrology: These forests are associated with dry calcareous substrates such as limestone and dolomite or on traprock. They occur on a variety of topographic and landscape positions, including ridgetops and upper and midslopes. The soil moisture regime is dry to dry-mesic.
Geographic Range: This group occurs across north-temperate eastern North America, from southern New England and New York west to Michigan, south to Georgia, and across to the central Midwest, but typically north of the Interior Low Plateau and Ozarks. This group may also occur in Canada.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces: AL?, CT, DC, DE?, GA, IL?, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI?, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ON, PA, RI, SC?, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV
US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)
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Plot Analysis Summary: FIA plots and Natural Heritage inventories have been conducted in portions of the range, and some quantitative analysis has also been conducted in portions of the range, but comprehensive sampling and analysis still remain to be done.
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
Concept Lineage:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: < Chinquapin Oak - Ash - Red-cedar Forest Group (Faber-Langendoen and Menard 2006) [This group includes forests further west in which Juniperus ashei is characteristic.]
< Hickory - ash - red cedar woodland (Walz 1996)
< Traprock glade/savanna (Walz 1996)
Concept Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen and S. Menard (2006)
Author of Description: S.C. Gawler, D. Faber-Langendoen, L.A. Sneddon
Acknowledgements: J. Vanderhorst and R. McCoy
Version Date: 06May2015
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., and S. Menard. 2006. A key to eastern forests of the United States: Macrogroups, groups, and alliances. September 15, 2006. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, S. Gawler, M. Hall, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, L. Sneddon, K. Schulz, J. Teague, M. Russo, K. Snow, and P. Comer, editors. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • Fleming, G. P. 1999. Plant communities of limestone, dolomite, and other calcareous substrates in the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-4. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 218 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2001a. Community types of Coastal Plain calcareous ravines in Virginia. Preliminary analysis and classification. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 4 pp.
  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.
  • NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Central Databases. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping of Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/106. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Walz, K. S. 1996. Final report: Ecological community inventory of High Mountain Park, Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Field Office, Chester. 120 pp.